Lecture – Frameworks for Integrating Treatments for PTSD and Addictions

Available with English captions.

Presented by Denise Hien, PhD, ABPP, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – The Cathie Cook Lecture

Over the past 20 years, clinicians and researchers have become more aware of the strong relationship between early and ongoing trauma exposure and substance use. High rates of traumatic stress exposure in childhood and across the life span have been linked to misuse of alcohol and drugs. For some, exposure to trauma has led to the development of addictive disorders.

Drawing on her experience as a practicing clinician and researcher, Hein offers an overview of the affective, cognitive, and neurobiological models that help us understand the links between traumatic stress and addiction. She also explains how trauma processing and skill-based techniques have been applied to address PTSD among those struggling with substance use recovery.

Watch now to learn about:

  • How clinicians have historically diagnosed and treated PTSD and substance use disorders and how researchers have studied these conditions
  • PTSD symptoms and statistics in outpatients seeking treatment for substance addiction
  • Two contrasting conceptual models that have been employed for treatments for PTSD and addiction
  • Scientific evidence for the effectiveness of current treatments for PTSD and substance use disorders
  • How COVID-19 has affected ongoing trauma work

Hein looks at the behavioral and medication approaches that have been developed to concurrently treat traumatic stress and addiction. She explains the metrics used to determine if outcomes from these approaches should be considered clinically significant.

Also, Hein reviews the current state of science around PTSD and addiction treatment. She highlights the limitations of the existing evidence base of randomized clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Current barriers to the distribution of research-based trauma treatment models in community substance use treatment are also discussed.

Hein relays past and current research on PTSD and addiction, but also explores the directions that future investigations might take. She calls for an emphasis on treatment matching and the creation of more practice guidelines. Hein suggests that researchers draw more on laboratory research, including human experiments and MRI studies, to inform the treatment process.